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'Greed' Contestant Vows to Save Pudding

By Thomas J. Castillo, Contributing Writer

Kevin E. Meyers '02 thinks he just might be greedy enough to save the Hasty Pudding building.

Meyers, a Crimson editor and member of the Hasty Pudding, will compete on an episode of the Fox game show "Greed" to be taped May 28. The episode is scheduled to air early this summer.

If he wins enough money, he said, he might try to buy back and renovate the Hasty Pudding building. The Institute of 1770, an umbrella group for the Pudding, signed the building over to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in April.

The building is valued at about $1.5 million and will likely require major renovations before students use the theater again.

"If I save the Pudding, though, we'd have to change the restaurant's name to 'Upstairs with Kevin Meyers,' and each play would have to have a protagonist named Kevin Meyers," he joked.

Meyers will be the third Harvard undergraduate this spring to compete on a game show. Richard A. Cooper '01 won $1,000 on ABC's "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?" and Grant S. Quasha '02 competed on episodes of "Greed" to be aired May 29 and June 2.

Meyers does not know whether he will appear on "Greed" or its higher-stakes counterpart, "Super Greed."

On "Greed," a team of five contestants begins by answering a $25,000 question, with each round of questions worth progressively more money. The final question is worth $2 million; on "Super Greed," where every question is worth twice as much money, the tally can go as high as $4 million.

After any correct answer, the team captain may choose to stop and split the winnings. If the team fails at any round, its members walk away with empty pockets.

The show's cutthroat reputation results from the "Terminator" showdown during later rounds in which one team member can challenge another for that person's share of the winnings.

Meyers said that he had tried to secure a spot on "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?," but when he found out that auditions for "Greed" were being held at John Harvard's Brew House earlier this spring, he decided to try out.

"I went down with three other guys from the Pudding as a goof," Meyers said. "I turned out to be the only one that made it. They think they all deserve a chunk of my winnings, but we'll see."

The auditions included nearly 100 students, but only Quasha and Meyers were chosen as finalists.

During one phase of the audition, students were asked to do something in 20 seconds that the judges would remember. One student mooned them.

Meyers told them about his experience performing in this year's Pudding show, The Jewel of Denial.

"I told them that for the past six weeks I've been in a mini-skirt and heels in front of thousands of people. They liked that," he said.

Meyers was told he was a finalist, but did not receive a call for weeks.

After learning that Quasha had already taped the show, Meyers said he resigned himself to the fact that "Greed" wouldn't call. But it did call, while he was in class, and caught him later the same day on a cellular phone in the Winthrop House dining hall while eating lunch with his friend Daniel A. Bress '01.

"After I found out, I grabbed Dan's dessert and smashed it on my face, then tossed his dinner on the ground just because. Because I'm greedy," Meyers said.

"That's exactly what happened," Bress said. "Then he stood up on the table and shouted 'I'm greedy, I'm greedy!' It was a great dinner."

"Kevin's a pretty greedy guy--I think he'll do great on the show," he added.

The event at John Harvard's Brew House was one of several auditions Fox conducted at universities across the country, searching for contestants like Quasha to compete on a college-themed episode.

The show's contestant coordinator, Michele Meyd, said Meyers and students from several other colleges were chosen at the auditions to compete on regular episodes.

Though Meyers said he is "thrilled" to compete, he hasn't forgotten his academic responsibilities.

"When I told my father, he asked if I was going to miss any finals, because he wouldn't let me miss any just to go to some game show."

Meyers said that even if he wins $4 million, he plans to return to school.

In addition to saving the Pudding, Meyers said his plans for his possible winnings range from simply buying a new television to paying for college for his four siblings.

"Or maybe I'll just party like a rock star," he said.

Meyers, who is from New Jersey, said that even if he walks away with nothing more than a free trip to Los Angeles, it will have been a worthwhile experience.

"Even if I go out there and fall on my face, I have friends I'll get to visit in L.A., and it's going to be a great weekend," he said.

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